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Scottish Crime and Justice Survey - Background

The main aims of the SCJS are to:

  • Enable the Scottish population to tell us about their experiences of, and attitudes to, a range of issues related to crime, policing and the justice system; including crime not reported to the police;

  • Provide a valid and reliable measure of adults' experience of crime, including services provided to victims of crime;

  • Examine trends, over time, in the number and nature of crimes in Scotland, providing a complementary measure of crime compared with police recorded crime statistics;

  • Examine the varying risk and characteristics of crime for different groups of adults in the population.

The collection of survey data on crime and victimisation in Scotland has undergone several key changes in methodology. The SCJS represents a major departure in survey design, methodology and sample size: 2008/09 (c. 16,000 interviews), 2009/10 (c. 16,000 interviews), 2010/11 (c. 13,000 interviews), 2012/13 (c. 12,000 interviews), 2014/15 (c. 11,500), 2016/17 (c. 6,000 interviews). Prior to this, surveys were intermittent, administered using paper questionnaires by interviewers on smaller samples (c. 5,000 interviews), and early surveys did not cover the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Published reports for all of the crime and justice surveys are available on our Publications page.